OF MOWER COUNTY
Part 8 of 13
Many names mentioned here.
Hon. B. F. Langworthy of Brownsdale,
April 16, 1902
WINDOM TOWNSHIP, 102, 17, is drained by Rose Creek and its tributaries. The first settlement in Windom was made by Sylvester Davis in 1855, who came here in the spring of that year and camped on section 20. But he heard of better prospects further on and he pulled up and went west. In August of that year he returned and settled on the southwest quarter of section 20, where he erected the first dwelling in the township. He sold his place in this town to Rev. Nelson Cook, a Congregational minister, and while he lived there the place was called "Saint's Rest." From Rev. Cook the chain of title to the place passed through Francis Bronson, Elias Branch and others, to H.G. Baker, the present proprietor. Elon C. Benton was the second settler in the township. In March 1856, W. T. Mandeville, Alfred Richardson, Hugh D. Mills and Pliny Conkey came and took up claims. In May following Horatio Marsh and George N. Conkey settled in the town. During the same year the following persons also arrived: Walter Fuller, Obadiah Smith, Andrew Robertson, Aaron Draper, John A. Thompson, Thomas Smith, Ira W. Padden, Martin O'Mally, Michael Slaven, Patrick O'Mally, Quincy A. Truesdell, William Cowan, Henry Fero and A. J. Clark.
The following came to the town in 1857: Alanson Wright, Harry and Roswell Slocum and brothers, William Furlong, Henry H. Vail, Stephen Sutton and son George, and George W. Benton. The last named claimed the northeast quarter of section 9. H. H. Vail preempted the northwest quarter of section 2.
William Furlong entered the northeast quarter of section 8 in the town of Windom. The Miners came in 1863. J. C. Ruland and John C. Hawkins came in the fall of 1865, the latter to join his family, who preceded him. Oliver J. Bemis and family moved out from Austin to section 3 in 1866. The railroad was completed through the site now occupied by the village of Rose Creek in December 1867, and a station established there. A warehouse was erected in 1869 by William Pitcher and in 1870 M. B. Slocum also commenced buying grain. The village for many years was without saloons. It is one of the important grain and potato markets of the county. John Cronan was the first agent.
Before leaving the town of Windom I will mention the murder of Ira W. Padden. He came into the town in 1856, and settled on the southeast quarter of section 6. During the war he served in Company C, Ninth Minnesota Volunteers Infantry and was discharged with the regiment in 1865. He was cruelly murdered in the fall of his return. He was at a threshing in the neighborhood and was passing sheaves of grain to the machine. It seems he passed too fast to suit the man that was feeding the machine and the fellow challenged him to a fight, which he refused to do. The murderer then went to a house near by and borrowed a revolver and returning again challenged him to a fight. Mr. Padden again refused, upon which the man fired upon him; he died from the effect of the shot in a few moments. The murderer was an Irishman who did not live in the neighborhood. He stole a horse and made his escape and was never caught or heard of in the town afterwards. Windom township, on account of adjoining Austin on the east,was well settled early and has had a steady growth.
RED ROCK TOWNSHIP, was first settled by three families of Norwegians, Gunder, Nereson, and a Mr. Oleson who came here in 1855. The last two settled in section 3, and the other in section 10. The remained until the spring of 1856, when Hilliard Tilton purchased Nereson's claim together with 40 acres of timber. For the land he paid $300, $100 for the claim and $200 for the timber. Oleson sold his claim to John L. Johnson and Gunder, his claim to Charles F. Hardy. Having disposed of all the land they left the township with seventy head of cattle. Mr. Tilton relates that when they were about to start away, they had two bushels of wheat left which they had brought for seed. He gave them $5 for the two bushels, giving them a ten-dollar gold piece to change. Mr. Oleson brought out a shot sack filled with 10 and 20 dollar gold pieces. Failing to find the change in that sack, he brought another about half as large, in which he succeeded in finding the necessary change. Mr. Tilton insisted that he never, either before or after, saw as much gold together as then.
Gunder, Nereson and a daughter of Oleson were the only ones among that lot of Norwegians who could talk English. John L. Johnson came to the town of Lansing in company with A. Vaughan in 1855, when he took a claim and did some breaking after which he returned to Rock county, Wisconsin, for his family. On his return to Lansing he found his claim had been jumped. He them came to Red Rock grove and built a shanty in Red Rock, section 4. The name of the grove was suggested to Mr. Johnson by a large red rock in the grove. The only one of the kind to be found for miles around. His family moved into the shanty the last of November and the following spring moved from the grove into a shanty on the land in section 10 purchased of a Norwegian. In this shanty in August 1856 was born the first white child in the township. Martin B. Johnston came to Red Rock township with his brother, John L., October 18, 1855. He enlisted in the ninth regiment of Minnesota volunteers in 1862, serving until the close of the year.
James H. Steward a native of Ohio came and settled in section 11 in 1856. John M. Vandergrift came in 1856 with his family and settled on section 14 in this township, where he lived until his death, July 19, 1875. Freeman M. Drown came into the township in October 1856 and was until a few years since a resident in the town. He owned 140 acres located in section 27. The village of Brownsdale was laid out in the summer of 1856 by Andrew D. and Hosmer A. Brown, natives of north Stonington, Conn.
John L. Johnson at first owned a part interest but later the Brown brothers became sole proprietors and named the village. They both still reside there. The village grew rapidly for a while and then remained stationary until the Southern Minnesota was built through in 1874. The railroad officials were very friendly to the village and bound themselves not to build another station within eight miles in either direction. Nehemiah Woodard came from Vermont in the spring of 1856, locating in the southwest quarter of section 3. He died in April 1870. John Setzer and family came from Virginia the same year, locating in section 3.
Rudolph Heath came here in the summer of 1858. He established the first nursery of fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs in the town. The following named persons also came to Minnesota and settled in the township in 1856: L. J. Ellsworth, Rev. Milo Frary, Elijah Sanborn, Leland B. Lewis, Hilliard S. Brown, who moved to Grand Meadow in 1884, N.R. Hoardley, Abram Howard to section 2, William F. Smith, John Taylor, who was frozen to death on the prairie in February, 1857, G.M. Cameron, J.V. Gilmore, W.O. Palmeter, Henry Shook, E.J. Stimson, J.D. Rugg, and I.J.B. Wright. Orin J. Hill in 1857 came to Mower county in company with his mother and brother, Amos H. Orin J. entered land in section 33. They lived in their wagon on the prairie four weeks before they had a house in which to live. The mother kept house for him as he was an unmarried man. After doing some breaking and making some other improvements he returned to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he was married in 1862. The next spring he returned with his wife to Mower county and resumed farming. Some years later he sold his farm to Park Tuttle and bought a farm farther out on the prairie, where he lived a number of years.
Park Tuttle lived upon the farm purchased from Hill, until his family grew up and left home to seek their fortunes. It was then Mr. Tuttle concluded to sell out and O.J. Hill repurchased the farm that he a few years before had sold to Mr. Tuttle and now has a fine farm of 60 acres. Mr. Tuttle moved to Kansas a short time after he sold out to O.J. Hill. Zalmon Ames, in 1857, came and settled in section 7 in the town of Red Rock. Among others who also came in 1857 were Harvey E. Anderson at one time a large land owner and grain dealer, and Alden Petty.
Ebenezer E. Tanner came in the fall of 1859 and settled in Red Rock township. Hiram Tanner came about the same time and entered the land where Delos Tanner now resides and where he lived until his death. Delos Tanner, second son of Hiram Tanner, came from Pennsylvania with his parents to Mower county and has been a resident here since he came into the state. Mr. Tanner received his education in the district school of his township and has always been engaged in farming. He married October 17, 18__ to Emma S. Langworthy, a native of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. They live on his father's homestead, which with the land adjoining now amounts to 480 acres. The first hotel in Brownsdale was erected in the fall of 1856 by H. A. Brown, and J.L. Johnson was the first landlord. He occupied it until the following spring, when he was succeeded by E.J. Stimpson, who was followed by C.H. Coats and later by Andrew D. Brown. B.F. Bacon commenced trade in Brownsdale in 1865. His store was located on the northeast corner ofMain and Mill streets. In 1872 his building was burned down, but he soon had a substantial brick building erected on the site of the one destroyed.
A.L. Sleeper came from Vermont to Brownsdale in 1862. His sons became associated with him in business in 1871. They now occupy two large brick stores where they do a large business and are deserving, energetic and very successful merchants. H.J. Sprague, John C. Sanborn and John Aten came in 1871. Thomas K. Dahle and William H. Lawrence came in 1875, and O. Hanson and Jens Jepsen in 1876. A.A. Bacon came to Red Rock in 1871. Theron P. Bull settled on section 13 and John Lynch on section 28 in 1862. When Mr. Bull first came into the county he worked at blacksmithing in Austin, after which he built a shop in Brownsdale. Charles Eager came in 1863 and Fisher Pick in 1867. Joseph H. Simpson came in 1865.
Leander Kirkland was married in the state of New York on September 22, 1864. He came into Mower county in July 1870 and settled on the farm which he now lives on in section 34 which contains 200 acres. Corydon C. Rogg came in the spring of 1876. James M. Tanner, eldest son of Ebenezer Tanner came with his parents to Red Rock, where he has since lived. He enlisted August 19, 1862, in Company C, Ninth Minnesota Volunteers, serving until the close of the war. Bing Tanner, a brother of James, lives upon the east half of his father's farm. Charles Eager came in 1863 and bought 100 acres in section 14 in this township.
Lucius L. Lamb came in 1864? and settled in the town. Arthur B. Warren came into the county when he was 12 years old. He attended school and assisted his parents on the farm. When he became of age he was married to Miss Della Bull on February 11, 1880. Clarence A. Warren enlisted in Company D. Fifty-third Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, serving until the end of the war. he came to Red Rock in 1865. Reuben Rollings came from Fillmore county to Waltham in 1867 and to Red Rock in 1877. Red Rock township is one of the most fertile and prosperous townships in the county.
[Mower Co. Transcript, Wed., April 16, 1902,
Submitted to Mower Genealogy by Mark Ashley, 3/2011
Webization by K. Kittleson